1) Your offensive strength is your offensive line, use it. Run the football 25 to 30 times splitting carries with Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. This will help set up your passing game with play action and also, if successful, chew up the clock to keep New Orleans offense off the field.
2) Get after Drew Brees. He’s not 100% with that oblique injury. Hit him, knock him down, make him run from the pressure and throw against his body. I wouldn’t put a bounty out on him, as the NFL frowns upon that, but let it be known to every defensive player on your team that if you can hit him legally, do it to make life uncomfortable for him.
3) Don’t get beat deep. If you have to play more zone coverage, then do it. The Saints love to go up top to Marques Colston or Jimmy Graham. Make them earn their yards and points by having to make a number of plays to score.
4) Win the special teams battle for field position. Last week special teams cost the Browns in the Pittsburgh game with Antonio Brown’s big return and not being able to down Spencer Lanning’s punt on the 1 yard line. Travis Benjamin needs to come up large this week with a big return.
5) Tackle better. It is that simple. The tackling last week, especially in the first half against the Steelers was atrocious. Limit yards after contact with the Saints running backs and wide receivers. Don’t let what should have been a 3 yard run or pass by Mark Ingram or Brandin Cooks, turn into a 25 yard gain or touchdown.
6) Win the turnover battle. I guess you could say that each week, but against the Saints who can score a lot of points, it becomes more important. Don’t give them extra opportunities to score, especially on a short field. So value the football and hopefully get a take away or two to put your offense in great field position to score.
7) Play from ahead, or be even on the scoreboard. The Saints are a good football team, but they aren’t as good on the road as they are at home. Make them chase you, outside, on natural grass, in an uncomfortable environment. Use your home field advantage by scoring early and getting the crowd into the game.